Frequently Asked Questions
Please review the frequently asked questions prior to contacting the Graphics Program with questions.
What classes do I have to take to earn my AS Degree in Graphic + Interactive Design?
We’ve designed a visual FLOW CHART for students to better show and describe our degree requirements. Make sure you’re using the correct flow chart for the year you declared your degree in Graphics as we are continually updating and improving our program in order to ensure our graduates are current, marketable, and competitive. The exact classes you will be required to take depend on the catalog year in which you declared your degree.
Each course listed on the FLOW CHART summarizes what software we cover in each course and to what degree that software is covered. Please note that we are not a “technical school” in which only software is covered. It is important to develop skills in visual communication, conceptual thinking, design thinking and creative problem solving to be successful in our field. If technical skills are all you’re seeking, you might be interested in pursuing a technical certificate only – however, please keep in mind our technical certificates don’t lead to a finished portfolio – and a competitive portfolio is required in order to find a job in our industry.
What AS (Associate in Science) Degree Specializations and Technical Certificates are
The AS Degree in Graphic + Interactive Design offers two specializations: Graphic Design (with a focus on advertising, branding, and print design) and Interactive Design (with a focus on web design, interactive design, and user interface design). Many Graphic’s students choose to select BOTH specializations because it makes them extremely marketable and competitive for jobs and because it would only require students study for 2 additional semesters to complete both specializations.
We also offer 4 technical certificates. Our technical certificates are best for people who are already working in the industry and who are just needing to be re-introduced to industry standard software and tools to keep their skills fresh. Our technical certificates don’t lead to a finished portfolio – and a competitive portfolio is required in order to find a job in our industry. Students just learning graphic design who are wanting a career in graphic design or web design will need a competitive portfolio and will need to complete our AS Degree in order to get a job in our industry.
How long does it take to earn an AS Degree in Graphic + Interactive Design?
Students who are attending FULL-TIME for the fall, spring, and summer semesters, can complete our degree in 2 years (6 semesters). Full-time students not taking classes during the summer semesters can complete our degree in 3 years. Part-time students can, naturally, expect to take longer to complete our program depending on how many classes they are able to take each semester.
Am I required to submit a portfolio to declare a major in Valencia’s Graphic + Interactive
Unlike a typical 4-year program, we do not require a portfolio submission or special application for you to declare Graphics as your chosen degree path; we have an open door policy when it comes to our first semester courses. Also, in contrast to a typical 4-year degree pathway, we don’t require you take two years of general education courses before you can apply to be a Graphic’s major. You will notice that our students have the opportunity to be exposed to industry basics their very first semester enrolled in our program and do not have to wait until “they are a junior” or are “accepted into our program” before they can give graphic design classes a whirl. This also means students who are uncertain about whether or not this is the right major for them, can give it a try by registering for any of our semester one courses before they declare a degree in our area to see if it’s a good fit for them.
Do you offer your degree online?
Only two of our courses are offered online: GRA 1413 Professional Development for Designers and DIG 2100C Web Essentials. All other courses in our area will require you attend classes.
If I am already a Graphic’s major, how do I know which flow chart to use for my catalog
When Valencia students declare their major, they are automatically placed in the catalog requirements for that year; where the requirements stay the same for the next 5 years. When changes are made to a degree major, the changes only affect students who are declaring their major for that NEW catalog year and generally do not affect the degree requirements for students who are in older catalogs. The only exception to that rule is when course prerequisite requirements change; this affects ALL students who are required to take that course as a part of their program degree requirements because they will still need to take any new prerequisites before they can take that course. Here are the flow charts for the current and previous academic years (catalogs) for the past 5 years:
Graphic + Interactive Design Career Information
What types of jobs are available for Graphic + Interactive Design majors? What does a portfolio look like for a Graphic + Interactive Design graduate?
While enrolled in our AS degree program, our students are required to create a professional portfolio (while taking GRA 1951C Portfolio Review). The portfolios you see (links below) are of our AS degree graduates. A professional portfolio is a requirement for placement in our industry. You simply cannot get work in our industry without a competitive portfolio.
Our graduates find themselves working as graphic designers, UI/UX designers, art directors, freelance designers, and web designers in the creative and advertising industries. Here is a nice random selection of student portfolios to give you an idea of what type of portfolio we expect of our graduates and the type of projects students have the opportunity to work on while they are with us:
You can also view photos that contain printed versions of our graduates’ portfolios here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vccgraphics/albums
Why should I choose to major in Graphic & Interactive Design?
With the increase growth in technology there is a higher demand for graphic, interactive, and web designers. Those choosing to major in Graphic & Interactive Design desire career satisfaction and possess qualities including creativity, capable of solving problems, good communication skills, ability to meet deadlines and manage projects, and willingness to work hard. Those that have made the decision to major in Graphic & Interactive Design are often artistic and have experience with computers.
What type of job would I be able to work once graduating with a Graphic & Interactive Design degree?
Graduates work in positions such as web designers, graphic designers, graphic artists, web production designers, layout designers, user interaction designer, user experience designer, interaction designer, publication designers, production artists, and digital media designers.
What type of salary should an entry-level Graphics graduate expect?
The estimated salary range for a Graphics major in the Central Florida area is $32,000 to $45,000 per year, however, salary depends a great deal on location, portfolio quality, soft skills, and technical skills. This is fantastic considering our program only costs approximately $10,100 (including books/supplies).
What ways can I get involved in the local creative industry?
We strive to keep our students constantly informed of extracurricular activities on our Valencia Graphics Facebook page. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity they have to learn beyond the classroom and join organizations such as Valencia’s Graphic’s Hangouts, the Creatologists, the Orlando Chapter of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts), AAF Orlando (American Advertising Federation), and AD2 Orlando. Throughout the year all organizations hold seminars, workshops, portfolio reviews, mentorships, and guest speakers which benefit students majoring in graphic, interactive, and web design. By joining these organizations students have the opportunity to network with other individual’s in the graphic design industry and learn from professionals outside of the classroom.
I registered for a 3 credit hour course; why is the class nearly 4 hours long?
There is usually one hour of lab time factored into most class times. During this time instructors are available to answer questions and provide assistance to students. Students may also be given this additional time to work on course projects.
Do I have to purchase a computer to be a Graphic’s major?
It’s important to note we do not require students purchase a computer or purchase the software needed to complete projects and assignments for class. This is because we offer open graphic’s labs in which our students can do all of their work. If students were preferring to purchase a computer and software so they can work from home, it would be best to purchase an Apple computer (either a Macbook Pro laptop with the largest monitor available or an iMac) as well as purchase an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Although both vendors offer student discounts, the cost for purchasing a computer and software is quite a significant financial investment (which is why we offer open labs).
Although we don’t offer personal tours, you’re always welcome to visit our open Graphic’s Lab facilities to ask our students, lab assistants, and lab supervisors any questions you’d like about our labs and our program. We offer classes and have separate labs on three Valencia Campuses: East: 1-213, West 3-150, and Osceola 1-244.
Do keep in mind our labs are funded through student lab fees, so only students registered for Graphic’s courses are able to use our labs.
I want to make sure I go to the lab when the lab is open, is there any way I can find out when the lab is open? We keep our East, West and Osceola lab hours posted on our website/blog here: Valencia Graphic + Interactive Design Lab Information
Why can't I take a class such as Electronic Imaging or Adobe Illustrator before taking
Graphic Design Essentials?
Graphic Design Essentials is required prior to taking most other Graphics courses so it is highly recommended that students enroll in this course early in the program. This course will overview software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign. An emphasis will also be placed on the use of typography, design, layout, color, pre-press production. Prior to completion of Graphic Design Essentials students will undergo a timed, hands-on competency exam. Graphic Design Essentials provides a fundamental understanding of programs such as photoshop and illustrator and therefore it is a prerequisite for classes such as Electronic Imaging and Adobe Illustrator.
What if I wish to take a class but I haven't taken the prerequisite course required to for the course?
It is highly recommended that students enroll in prerequisite courses prior to ensure they are adequately educated and prepared for each course. In some special circumstances, such as a student transfering from another school, students are able to take a course without the prerequisite course. Students desiring to take a course without taking a prerequisite course must demonstrate sufficient experience to take the course which requires a prerequisite. Students who feel they are capable of taking a course without prior completion of a prerequisite course may request an override which will be approved or disapproved by the program director based on the students competency for the required course demonstrated in their portfolio, by way of taking a competency exam and/or by way of transfer credits from another college-level institution.
What is an override?
An override may grant a student permission to take a course if they have not taken the required prerequisite course or if the course is filled at the time of registration. The program director is responsible for approving and disapproving overrides.
How is it decided who receives an override?
Students closest to completing their degree are given higher priority when override decisions are made. Students requesting overrides due to lack of completion of prerequisite courses should demonstrate competency to take the course requiring an override via a portfolio review and proof of college-level instruction from another institution.
When are override decisions made?
Overrides decisions are made after the payment deadline purge date prior to the beginning of each semester.
The class I wish to take is full on West Campus but not on East Campus. Can I request an override to take the course on West Campus?
No overrides requests will be accepted for courses if the same course is not full on another campus.
When is the best time to take portfolio?
Portfolio Review is to be scheduled during your graduating semester and you should not take any other classes that semester except for Internship.
What should I expect during portfolio review class?
Although the course is only one credit hour, this is undoubtedly one of the most demanding and time consuming courses Graphic & Interactive Design students face during their degree. During this course students prepare their past projects for their portfolio and often rework past projects. All of this hard work culminates during their portfolio review with professionals in the industry interviewing them and discussing their final portfolios. Students should expect to also take a timed competency exam in GRA 1180C Portfolio Prep before being able to take GRA 1951C Portfolio Review.
What is the competency exam and why do I have to take it to complete the Portfolio Prep course?
The competency exam is a timed examination where student will be evaluated for their ability to design and use necessary software to produce a printed publication or a website with files they are supplied with. The competency exam measures students technical capabilities and readiness to execute professional quality work so they may begin work immediately upon graduation. After completing the competency exam students should feel confident that they are capable of working in an entry-level position as a Graphic, Interactive, or Web Designer.
When is the best time to take the internship course?
The best time to take the internship course is during your last semester while you are taking Portfolio Review.
What do I need to do to register for the internship course?
To get the best idea of how to register for internship and what to expect from the interning experience, students are required to view this orientation prior to being registered: http://valenciagraphicdesign.com/2013/06/plan-to-internship-nextsemester/